Fox News host Tucker Carlson appeared to justify President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this weekend by saying that despite Pyongyang’s rampant human rights abuses, many foreign leaders were responsible for “killing people.”
Carlson was on the sidelines at the Demilitarized Zone during Trump’s meeting with Kim this weekend.
Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step foot in North Korea, briefly crossing into the country to meet with Kim before the pair held a closed-door session on Pyongyang’s nuclear program on the South Korean side of the DMZ.
“There’s no defending the North Korean regime, which is a monstrous regime, it’s the last really Stalinist regime in the world. It’s a disgusting place,” Carlson said during a phone call on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday morning.
“On the other hand, you know, you got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people. Not on the scale that the North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that we’re closely allied with.”
Carlson noted he wasn’t a “relativist or anything,” merely stating that Trump was responsible for choosing “between the bad people and the worse people” when it came to diplomacy.
“He’s, you know, far less sentimental about this stuff, and maybe, I think more realistic about him,” the Fox News host said.
The relatively impromptu meeting between Trump and Kim (which began via an invitation on Twitter) was the president’s latest effort to rein in North Korea’s antagonistic nuclear program and convince the country to resume negotiations to rid itself of such weaponry. The pair have held two official summits on the matter, and Trump has praised himself for his work to bring Kim to the negotiating table. But tensions have risen once more in recent months and little progress has been made.
The Kim regime has agreed to suspend nuclear testing and taken other diplomatic steps to appease the U.S., including releasing some political prisoners and returning the remains of American soldiers. But the North has reportedly continued to further its nuclear ambitions and tested the boundaries of such promises by firing short-range missiles.
Carlson has long been a vocal defender of the Trump administration amid criticism from those who have accused the president of merely seeking a good photo opportunity, and he was effusive in his praise during the call on Sunday.
“Trump was about as happy as I’ve ever seen him because it really is something that hasn’t been done before and probably would not have been done without him, and his very different style of governing and thinking,” Carlson said. “My sense ... just standing there for an hour watching ― I think he was probably a little bit overwhelmed by Trump who towers over him and who is a very large man. He seemed to kind of dominate him and there was a kind of magnetism and real aggression to Trump, so it didn’t feel exactly like peers. It felt like maybe an older brother-younger brother kind of situation.”
A one-on-one interview between Trump and Carlson will air on Fox News Monday evening.